Thursday, April 8, 2010

SCUG Meeting April 7th 2010

Yesterday I attended a SCUG (System Center User Group) Meeting in the Netherlands. HP provided the location, food and beverages. Thank you HP for your hospitality.

First session was all about the partnership between HP and Microsoft. This is not a normal partnership, but a Frontline Partnership where both companies will work tightly together in order to combine each others strengths. Of course there is much more to it. Want to know more? Check out what HP and Microsoft have to say about it.

One of the good things about it is that HP is now working tightly together with Microsoft to build their MPs, for products like:

  • ProLiant Server
  • Integrity Server
  • Storage Works
  • Polyserve
  • P4000 Lefthand (SAN, coming soon)
  • On Board Administrator (Blades)
  • ILO
  • Virtual Connect

Also the integration between HP OVO and SCOM will be improved in the near future. So there is much going on there. Nice!

The second session was all about DPM 2010 and the differences/improvements compared to DPM 2007. A good session it was. Speaker Alex Smits told all about it. Just in an hour the most important things to know were shared with the audience. Some nice features are the possibility to backup clients, self-healing capabilities and backing up servers residing outside the trusted environment.

Another surprise is EVault for DPM. This product enables DPM (2010) to backup other non-Microsoft software solutions like Oracle and so on. So DPM is going Xplat as well…

A short session was given by Hermes Softlab. This company is specialized in monitoring Citrix, Siebel and Documentum. A short demonstration about monitoring Citrix with their MP was given. This MP is fully native, no connectors or additional servers are needed. Nice!

The last session was all about Opalis in conjunction with SCOM.

Maarten Goet presented this session. After a comprehensive Power Point slide show he gave a rock solid demonstration showing the real power of Opalis. Man! It rocks! What it is? What it does? Compare Opalis with a robot factory. One can build all kinds of automated processes. WITHOUT the need to know anything about programming, nor scripting. When you know how to handle a mouse and have some knowledge about workflows, you are in CONTROL!

I had read and heard a lot about Opalis. But the demonstration revealed the real power of it all, or better the tip of the iceberg.

In this demo an Alert came into SCOM R2 about a service being stopped. Opalis had a workflow running every minute, connecting to SCOM. When this particular Alert came in, the workflow kicked off a whole chain of processes. It changed the Resolution State from New to something like ‘Work in Progress by Opalis’.

Then the same workflow attempted to restart the service. Checked for it success. If so, it changed the Resolution State to ‘Resolved by Opalis’. When the restart failed the same workflow would have changed the Resolution State to ‘Repair by Opalis Failed’. Also additional comments could be added.

And all this from a point-and-click interface! No rocket science. No scripting skills needed. One has to use common sense and the mouse! Maarten build it in a couple of minutes. Of course, he has done so before. But it really looked easy.

So after the demonstration I build an Opalis server back home, connected it to one of mine SCOM R2 test environments and wow! I constructed a similar workflow in a matter of twenty minutes! My first workflow! So the next will go faster. The possibilities are ‘endless’!

So a day well spent. Learned much that day. Another nice thing: finally I met Stefan Stranger in the flesh. He invited my colleague and me over for a visit at Microsoft HQ at Schiphol. Very nice it was as well. Special building and very impressive how Microsoft has introduced ‘the new way of working’ there. Awesome!

Thanks to SGUC and Microsoft Netherlands I had a great day. Learned many new things. Main thing is that SCOM R2 is really growing up fast! It is a product with a real roadmap and Microsoft puts much resources and efforts in it to make it better and more versatile.

Oh. Want to know more about Opalis? Good to know a trial version can be downloaded from here. In the future to come I will blog about Opalis and SCOM. Much to be told. :)

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